Syria: China will fix what the West broke
The following is NSS’s translation from Chinese of an article from mil.news.sina.com.cn showing that China is committed to rebuilding Syria and has been thus committed for some time. This article is followed by highlights from our translation from Arabic of an article showing that China has long standing friendly commercial ties to Syria. These articles also show that China has long been confident that the US will not prevail in its attempted land grab in the guise of a war against ISIS there. This confidence is supported by recent events, particularly the foiled attempt by the US to prevent the Syrian Arab Army – Assad’s troops – from reaching the border with Iraq, which has just happened, to Centcom’s chagrin and embarrasment. As the US sees itself boxed in, in Syria, with diminishing opportunities for a military solution, it is becoming increasingly desperate and erratic. The US Senate has now drafted a bill that threatens the ruble by hobbling investments in Russia. This too could backfire if Europe sees this as an opening for bargain basement investments in Russia in euros – which would have the unintended effect of further reducing the value of the US dollar. Go ahead. Make our day.
An internet search shows that European countries’ investments involving Syria are going exclusively to resettlement of Syrians outside Syria and other programs clearly reflecting the West’s expectation, and desire, that Assad will leave and that the majority of refugees will stay in Europe, and this signals in turn that the West has plans for Syria that have nothing to do with the sovereign Syrian people and their welfare, quite the opposite apparently. This insistence on dictating the future of the Syrian people (who overwhelmingly support Assad) is the chief factor in the uncontrolled mass immigration to Europe, which the European people reject for the most part.
An analogous search for Chinese investment in Syria shows that China fully expects Assad to stay. The article presented in translation below shows that such plans are already underway and that China is ready to shoulder the bulk of an estimated trillion dollars worth of investment.
In the event the Chinese should choose to invest funds from its AIIB bank, then, since European investors were some of the first to join this venture, much of the investment could be funded in euros. This too would adversely affect the value of the dollar.
BEGIN TRANSLATION from mil.news.sina.com.cn
Russian media: China will participate in Syrian rebuilding projects or involve Chinese enterprises
Foreign media report that the Russian demining center’s engineers continue to work, ridding the Syrian Aleppo residential area of simple shells and grenades. So far, engineers have cleared 110 hectares of land. It has been learned that citizens have started to return to the already-cleared neighborhoods. The Russian military is suspected of using a well-known Chinese brand of drones for demining.
cankaoxiaoxi.com of Feb 9 reports: Russian media have said the Syrian economy and infrastructure reconstruction will cost over a trillion dollars. Beijing may be a major player in this huge project.
The Russian web magazine Expert.ru of February 8 quoted the US magazine "National Interest" saying that the White House issued a number of signals that Trump is prepared to give Putin free rein on the Syrian issue. Of course there are several conditions: Russia must eradicate the "Islamic state", help the Syrian Kurds, and make Iran and Hezbollah leave the Syrian battlefield. Even if the Kremlin agreed to the deal and met these conditions, it would still face a complex question: how to raise money to rebuild Syria on the ruins once the Syrian guns grow silent? And of course, no one can figure out at this point how much money is needed, although the highest figure quoted in the West is $1 trillion.
The report said that Moscow certainly did not have that much money, in part because the Russian Air Force had spent at least $3 million a day since it started sending troops to Syria in the fall of 2015. As long as Bashar al-Assad is still in power, the wealthy gulf monarchies will not pay for the reconstruction of Syria. Iran has no money for its allies, due to the deterioration of the relationship with the new US government. It is once again facing economic difficulties.
But all is not lost, because there is still China. Beijing seems both capable and willing to pay for Syria's post-war reconstruction. Of course not all the money, but at least a large part. China should be interested in helping Syria. At the same time, Beijing will certainly ask other BRICS countries to participate in the reconstruction of Syria. All five member states of this informal organization are developing rapidly and are members of the G-20. The total population of five BRICS countries is now 3.6 billion, accounting for half of the world. The total gross domestic product is 16.6 trillion US dollars, or 22% of global GDP.
The US magazine "National Interest" says that Moscow is also willing to let the BRICS countries provide funding. Damascus has already been involved in negotiations over postwar reconstruction. For example, India's Heavy Electricals, Ltd. said last summer that it would invest more than $300 million to build a power station and a metallurgical plant in Syria.
Beijing supports the policy of a peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict and believes that the practice of overturning a government by foreign forces is already outdated. China held this position as early as 1999 when NATO bombed the former Yugoslavia. Beijing has twice used its veto in the UN Security Council to stop the resolution against the Assad government submitted by France and Saudi Arabia.
Bilateral relations between Beijing and Damascus began in 1956, when Syria and Egypt were the first in the Arab world to recognize the People's Republic of China and to send ambassadors to Beijing.
China reportedly sold weapons and equipment to Syria. In 1988, the Chinese provided a number of M-9 missiles to Damascus. From 1996 onwards, China began to provide military technology to Syria. Assad made an official visit to Beijing in 2004, becoming the first Syrian leader to officially visit the city. China was Syria’s main trading partner when the civil war broke out. Its trade with Syria exceeds that with Russia. In 2010, China’s exports to Syria amounted to $2.4 billion. The main export commodities were telecommunications equipment, electronic equipment and heavy technology and equipment.
China's largest investment in Syria is related to the Syrian oil industry. China National Petroleum Corporation has two large oil companies in Syria, a high stake. Huge projects in the exploration and development of Syrian oil fields have been frozen because these fields are currently under the control of the "Islamic State.”
It is reported that in Damascus, the Chinese embassy and the US embassy are very close. In the past five years since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, the Chinese embassy has been in operation and the staff of the embassy is well aware of all the projects in Syria's economic and infrastructure reconstruction. "National Interest" reports that the reconstruction of part of the project by Chinese enterprises is very likely. (Compilation / zhao zhipeng)
The Arabic-language site Syrianexpert.net ran posted on April 16 a report about a meeting of the Arab-Syrian
The following is our translation of the highlights, ie, the first few paragraphs, which indicate that the Chinese have been involved in Damascus for years planning investments in Syria. Highlighting is ours.
Industrial investment opportunities for Chinese companies in Syria
Damascus - Syrian expert
Minister of Industry Eng. Ahmed Hamo discussed with the delegation of the Arab Chinese Association the investment opportunities available in the industrial sector to Chinese companies wishing to work and invest in Syria and participate in the rehabilitation of companies and industrial establishments destroyed as a result of terrorist attacks.
The Minister of Industry shared with the guest delegation the areas in which Chinese companies can invest, which are concentrated in cement, glass, sandblasting, basalt, photovoltaic production, renewable energy industries, raw materials available in Syria and the food and pharmaceutical industries, noting the existence of agreements, understandings and contract projects with many Chinese companies which are to be implemented or completed in Syria.
He pointed out that the participation of Chinese companies in the promotion of the industrial sector in Syria is welcome, indicating the existence of legislative frameworks governing the investment process and guaranteeing the rights of investors in addition to facilities and exemptions provided by the government according to the specific characteristics of each project and the existence of safe places in many areas where successful projects can be established.
The Minister of Industry pointed to the importance of the association to convey thereal picture and the reality of investment and investment opportunities in the industrial sector for many Chinese companies and acting as a mediator to overcome the obstacles that may arise in all stages of joint work between Syrian companies and their Chinese counterparts.
The head of the delegation of the Arab Chinese Association Shen Yong, pointed out the interest of Chinese companies in entering new investments and their keenness to contribute to the process of developing the industrial sector in Syria, stating that the Association has strong relations with 200 of the largest Chinese companies, which carry out high-level projects.
"It is important for the Syrian government to promote this conference and submit lists of projects and investment opportunities in all sectors, incentives and facilities in order to encourage Chinese companies to attract investment in Syria," Yong said.
Iraq also is attracting Chinese investment but the important difference from Syria is that Western companies are also investing there. That's because they did not make the major blunder of saying early on that a popular Iraqi leader "must go."
The West's recalcitrance in rejecting investment in Syria “unless we get regime change” will cause the West to lose major investment opportunities that will be gobbled up by Russia, China and their Eurasian allies.
Just one more example of how the West allows a rigid adherence to ideological “good guys vs bad guys” to interfere in its market places. It all affects the bottom line.